08/22/2012 11:20 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Reason #29: Forward Versus Backward

Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.

There is no question that this election presents us with one of the starkest choices we have faced in generations. At its core, America must decide whether it wants to move Forward or Backward.

On issues ranging from equality and civil rights to economics and foreign policy, Mitt Romney has made it clear that he wants to take America backward.


Romney is opposed not only to same-sex marriage, which President Obama supports, but also to civil unions for gays and lesbians, something which even George W. Bush supported. In fact, Romney supports a constitutional amendment stating that marriage should only be between a man and woman, an issue that Congress has ignored since it failed by over fifty votes more than six years ago. Romney even thinks that issues like hospital visitation rights should be left to the states to decide, despite the fact that more than eight in ten Americans support visitation rights for gays and lesbians.

Romney has failed to say whether or not he would have signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by clarifying that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new discriminatory paycheck.

On military and foreign policy, Romney wants to take us back to the days of Bush, complete with unilateralism, massive military budgets, and bellicose warmongering talk. The journalist James Traub has dubbed Romney's approach to foreign affairs, the "more enemies, fewer friends" doctrine. In The American Conservative, Daniel Larison recently wrote of Romney:

He will wreck the relationship with Russia, he won't negotiate with the Taliban, and he will be more likely to order an attack on Iran (and he believes he can do this on his own authority). The trouble is that Romney makes statements that seem so far removed from reality that journalists and pundits usually just shrug their shoulders and dismiss it as campaign hyperbole. They say to themselves, "No one could be foolish enough to do what he says he'll do!" Romney has been able to brush off a series of foreign policy blunders that would normally be considered major liabilities if they had been made by someone who was supposed to know what he was talking about. Romney's inexperience and incompetence on foreign policy have become very effective political shields.

Perhaps most troubling, Romney has made it clear that he will take us back to Bush's economic policies, which almost exclusively benefited the wealthy upper class. This April, Alexandra Franceschi, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, said that the Republican Party's economic platform in 2012 was going to be the same as it was during the Bush years, "just updated." This admission is particularly frightening, given that Bush produced the lowest increase in investment, GDP, and employment of any postwar expansion, with monthly job growth the worst since at least February 1945, household income dropping for the first time since tracking began, and the deficit and debt exploding. It would have to be quite the update for the GOP to make anything better happen this time around. No wonder why Bill Clinton has called these "the same ideas they've tried before, except on steroids."

In a June 2012 speech, President Obama succinctly assessed the damage caused during the Bush era:

We were told that huge tax cuts -- especially for the wealthiest Americans -- would lead to faster job growth. We were told that fewer regulations -- especially for big financial institutions and corporations -- would bring about widespread prosperity. We were told that it was OK to put two wars on the nation's credit card; that tax cuts would create enough growth to pay for themselves. So how did this economic theory work out? For the wealthiest Americans it worked out pretty well... But prosperity never trickled down to the middle class.

As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, the Republican approach "is a recipe to make us a declining power, a less exceptional nation, and it's a dark and pessimistic vision of America."

Romney wants to take us back to the days of Bush: tax cuts for the wealthy, equality for some, health care for the few, economic growth for no one and risky foreign policy for us all.

President Obama wants to move us forward: a stronger middle class, quality health care that's affordable, a twenty-first-century educational system, expanded opportunities for every American, and a safer world for us all.

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